The recent news report of mold growing inside an infant teether has many parents concerned about this nasty fungus in the home. And while a small amount of mold inside a toy or other household item may not be a major health threat, people with mold allergies or asthma can experience heightened symptoms, such as watering or itching eyes, congestion, sneezing, etc. when regularly exposed to mold. The key is eliminating it before it gets out of hand, and in order to eliminate it, you need to know exactly where to look for it.
We’ve put together a list of hidden places and household items to conduct regular inspections for mold. With a spray bottle of white vinegar and a cloth or sponge in hand, you can send it packing. And yes, vinegar can kill mold — its acetic acid content is strong enough to eradicate most mold species on hard surfaces.* Be sure to use it at full strength.
In The Kitchen
- Blender, food processor, juicers – Check seals and rims. Allow small appliances to dry completely after washing.
- Canisters – When cleaning the countertops, check and clean the bottom of canisters, spice bottles, etc.
- Refrigerator & Freezer – If your refrigerator has a water dispenser in the door, periodically remove the tray, wash, and hand dry. Drawers under the refrigerator collect water and can be a petri dish for mold growth. Inspect the rubber seal on the refrigerator and freezer. Check the produce drawers in the refrigerator. Line with paper towels to reduce moisture.
- Dishwasher – Leave the dishwasher door open after using, until dry. Freshen and clean your dishwasher by running vinegar on the clean cycle according to manufacturer’s recommendation. Allow dishes, utensils and food storage containers and lids to dry completely before storing.
- Coffee machine – Run vinegar and water through your coffee machine as often as the manufacturer suggests, or if you notice sign of mold in the water reservoir.
In the Bathroom
- Toilet – The inside rim of the toilet bowl could be harboring mold. Spray white vinegar directly under the rim, let it sit, then flush. You can also use our homemade toilet bowl cleaner once a week: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda in the toilet. Add 1 cup vinegar. Stir it up with a scrub brush and let it sit and fizz, then scrub again and flush.
- Bath & Beauty Products – When cleaning the tub and/or shower, countertops and other surfaces in the bathroom clean and dry the bottom of each bottle or container kept in this humid environment.
- Window Sills – If condensation forms on any of the windows in your home, mold can start growing in cracks and crevices (you’ll see black forming in the corners). Scrub down with white vinegar and fan-dry before shutting windows again.
Laundry Room and Closets
- Clothes hamper – Never put wet towels or damp, sweaty gym clothes or bathing suits into the clothes hamper. Lay across the top of the hamper until dry, or wash right away.
- Closets – If you have solid closet doors, leave a door partially open to enable air circulation. If mold or mildew is a problem, consider installing louvered doors, and leave a ceiling fan on.
- Shoes – Let your shoes air out several hours before placing them back into shoe boxes.
- Washing Machine – Leave the door open after removing wet clothes from the washing machine. Check the inside rim of the washing machine for mold growth. Wipe dry with a cloth after use, and clean with vinegar or peroxide as needed.
To learn more about mold, and how to remove it from your home without chemicals, check out these helpful articles:
*Note: For major mold problems (mold that has penetrated dry wall or wood) you may need to call a professional.